In the world of off-camera flash, there are two sides: the full manual side and the TTL (through the lens) side. I have always been on the full manual side, because when it comes to triggering a TTL flash off camera, things start to get complicated. In order to trigger the flash, you either need to have an expensive on-camera flash, an expensive TTL radio trigger, or a cumbersome TTL cable. Then, I found the affordable and feature-rich Yongnuo TTL system and instantly fell in love.
In order to get your flash off camera, all you need are two Yongnuo-622n flash transceivers that are compatible with your TTL flash. One transceiver connects to your camera and acts as the trigger, while the second transceiver connects to your flash and acts as the receiver. With this simple $77 solution (not including your flash), you now have the ability to trigger your flash in manual, TTL, use high speed sync, and trigger multiple flashes based on groups and channels (with multiple flashes and triggers). The problem is that you have to adjust the TTL flash power from within the camera settings by using flash compensation and if you want to control the flash power in manual, you are stuck having to adjust it from the flash.
Enter the Yongnuo-622n TX. This transmitter not only gives you the ability to adjust the flash power in manual and TTL, it also gives you the option to adjust the zoom of each flash in addition to all the other features offered in the Yongnuo-622n transceivers. You can also switch from manual to TTL from the transmitter without having to touch your flash.
How It Works
I was surprised by how easy it was to set everything up. All I had to do was plug my flash into the transceiver, plug the transmitter into my camera, make sure my flash was set to TTL (I don't think the flash has to be in TTL for Canon users), and then confirm that the transceiver and trigger were on the same channel. After this quick process, everything just worked. The buttons on the transmitter are all very straightforward and it’s easy to figure out how to change all the settings.
The transceiver has three buttons and a switch on the unit: one button to cycle through the groups, one button to cycle through the channels, a test button, and a switch to power the device on and off.
The dedicated TX transmitter has a button for everything you can control from the unit and each setting is displayed on the screen. This means no diving into menus and settings to view or change a parameter. Each button works by pressing it to select what option you want to change, then using the directional pad to change the setting. When changing flash power, you use the directional pad horizontally to change by full stops and vertically to change by third stops. It’s all very intuitive and easy to grasp.
When using the unit, I never once had an issue with the flash not firing or being out of range. Granted, I have never had a reason to get crazy far distances away from my flash, but I never had an issue with it being across a field or having the flash be inside while I was outside.
The build is what’s to be expected when dealing with cheaper products. They don't feel flimsy by any means, but they don't feel exceptionally rugged either. The glossy coating of the transceivers gets scuffed easily, but this doesn’t affect performance; so, it's not really a concern for me.
The main issue I have is with the TX transmitter. The display uses a clear plastic that seems to be easy to scratch, which leaves me wondering at what point it will become hard to see what is being displayed. After a few months of heavy use, it's still easily viewable, but I can see things going horribly wrong by simply placing it in a pocket with something that is rough or has sharp edges. The plus side is that at $44, I can buy a couple replacements and still be ahead when compared to a PocketWizard. The scratches are also not as prominent when the screen's backlight is on.
One added bonus of the transceivers is the ability to remotely trigger your camera's shutter button. They even come with all the cables and connections you need, so there is no need to buy additional accessories. Once you attach a transceiver to your camera and run the cable to your remote port, you simply press the test button on the second transceiver to trip the shutter.
What I Like
My favorite feature is the ability to trigger a flash in TTL while also being able to quickly change it to manual without needing to touch my flash. This is useful because TTL seems to work most of the time for me, but there are always those certain instances where it gets tripped up. For these situations, I can quickly and easily switch the flash to manual with a single button.
The next big feature is the ability to still use high speed sync when the flash is set to manual. In all my past days of manual flash, I was always stuck at my camera's sync speed of 1/250th of a second. I wanted to use manual flash, though, because I liked having the consistency of setting a specific flash power and not relying on the fluctuating TTL exposures. But now, I have the ability to use manual flash while also being able to exceed my camera's sync speed. Now, I get the best of both worlds. Lastly, I can't overlook how relatively cheap the system is.
What I Don't Like
My biggest gripe with the entire system is that the on/off switches are too easy to change. I shoot with two cameras and thus, the camera I’m not using is always bumping into my body in one way or the other. This bumping has caused a transceiver to be turned off on a couple of occasions, causing me to miss a few shots before realizing it’s off. Also, they always seem to be in the on position when I get them out of my bag. This could be that they got turned on in the bag from moving around or that I forgot to turn them off. But that brings me to my next issue: they don't have a battery-saving mode when not in use. Instead, both the transceivers and the transmitter will just sit and blink their little LED lights until they are dead.
I also wish you could use the camera in bulb mode with the transceivers as a remote trigger. It seems that it only recognizes a single press and not a hold; so, using this setup, you are limited to the shutter speeds that are available in your camera. Lastly, while build quality is acceptable, I do wish they didn't scratch so easily.
The Yongnuo system is a very capable and affordable option for getting your flash off camera. Add in the fact that you get TTL and high speed sync and it’s a definite win. The few cons that I have seen, to me, are not worth the added expense of getting a higher-end system.
Are you team TTL or team manual? What flash trigger system do you use?